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Most people don’t need a Covid vaccine booster, new review finds

None of the coronavirus vaccine data so far provides credible evidence to support recalls for the general population, according to a review released Monday by an international group of scientists, including some from the Food and Drug Administration and of the World Health Organization.

The 18 authors include Dr Philip Krause and Dr Marion Gruber, FDA scientists who resigned from the agency, at least in part because they disagreed with the Biden administration’s push for boosters before. that federal scientists can review the evidence and make recommendations.

The Biden administration offered to give vaccine boosters eight months after the first injections. But many scientists opposed the plan, saying vaccines continue to be powerfully protective against serious illness and hospitalization. An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet on Friday to review the data.

In the new review, published in The Lancet, experts said that whatever benefit boosters provide, it won’t outweigh the benefit of using these doses to protect the billions of people who are still not vaccinated in the world. Boosters may be helpful in some people with weakened immune systems, they said, but are not yet necessary for the general population.

Several studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including three on Friday, suggest that while the efficacy against Delta variant infection appears to decline slightly over time, vaccines remain stable against serious illness in all groups of people. ‘age. It is only in people over the age of 75 that vaccines show some weakening of protection against hospitalization.

The immunity conferred by vaccines relies on protection against both antibodies and immune cells. Although antibody levels may decline over time – and increase the risk of infection – the body’s memory for the virus is long lasting.

The vaccines are slightly less effective against infection with the Delta variant than with the Alpha variant, but the virus has not yet evolved to evade sustained responses from immune cells, experts said. Boosters may possibly be needed even for the general population if a variant emerges that bypasses the immune response.

Experts have warned that promoting booster shots before they’re needed, as well as any reports of side effects from booster shots, such as heart problems or Guillain-Barré syndrome, could undermine confidence in the primary series. .

Data from Israel suggests that booster doses improve protection against infection. But that evidence was gathered about a week after the third dose and may not hold up over time, experts said.

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